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Business broadband

Yesterday we blogged about the frequently onerous customer support charges currently being levied by UK broadband providers. The cause of our ire, you'll recall, was a Which? study found that Tesco and some junior ISPs are using cripplingly expensive 090 numbers.

Today, we’re feeling no more forgiving of the broadband providers named and shamed by the study. Not least when we read about what US network AT&T has just done as part of an investment programme to improve its customer support. Frankly, it’s enough to put our own ISPs to shame.

The US telecommunications has this week announced the opening of a support centre in Little Rock, Arkansas, that is so bleeding-edge you could cut yourself on it. Among the state of the art equipment housed inside is a lab area which is home to a host of computers with a range of operating systems. Brilliantly, this is there so that operators can transfer problems and queries to a lab worker who will be able to emulate the conditions that the complainant is working in so as to better identify the cause of the problem.

And that’s not all. TVs are provided that run constant news updates, so that workers will be able to stay informed of extreme weather that could be affecting a customer’s service.

It might be too much to ask for UK ISPs to emulate AT&T’s $7 million investment. And perhaps it’s not fair to expect as much in the midst of a global downturn. But once the global downturn has abated, we’d love to see a UK provider put customers at the core of their business strategy in the way that AT&T has. And we think that millions of others would, too.

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